Why PVP Needs an Easier Path to Competitiveness

It’s not hard to feel sorry for PVP these days. The game mode is all but dead and the most recent livestream didn’t reveal any hint that it might change this year. I’m additionally amazed how little the devs and the community seem to understand what PVP is really lacking. I see tons of threads discussing various minor balancing issues. Too much healing, one-rotating builds. This stuff does matter, but is a secondary issue right now. Then Thomas Foss mentioned dueling and maybe an additional map during the stream. Apart from the fact that this is months away because they haven’t even started working on it, nobody is playing PVP on the four maps we have. What makes you think that an additional one or looking into 1v1 and 3v3 will change that?

Even queues are not the #1 priority any longer

Of course the queues and matchmaking remain a valid point. But even that discussion was so Mod 8 when some guys were actually still interested. Don’t get my wrong, I still think a permanent solo queue for a competitive leaderboard plus a premade one to arrange matches has to happen. But it’s no longer a pressing issue with a constant decline in PVP interest. What we really need right now is an easier path to competitiveness for new players that are interested in the game mode.

Too much PVE in PVP

To understand the issue we need to look into the progression system for a second. There are several factors involved that work against PVP. First of all players interested in PVP need to do way too much PVE. There’s the Tenacity gear, but all the Refining, Enchantments and Weapon sets have to be grinded in dungeons or acquired through campaigns. And since you need a specific build to do PVE, you can’t effectively PVP at the same time. Builds and setups are too different. Loadouts will presumably deal with that a bit, but it doesn’t solve all of the issue. Worst case is you need two completely different sets of gear and enchantments. Plus today’s mandatory Bonding companion in a completely wasted asset in PVP.

Secondly you need to be in (near) best-in-slot equipment to be truly competitive in PVP. That’s important because the grind to the top is long, and gets longer with every module. Few people are willing to take on that kind of commitment, much less with the current state PVP is in. It doesn’t help that PVE does not require the same item levels, you can master any content way before “bis”. The gap between the PVE progression end and PVP progression start is where a lot of players understandably get lost.

To sum it up: PVP has incredibly high requirements. And even if players ignored them, they wouldn’t be able to simply blend into the game mode along their way, because they have to build for PVE first and invest ADs in areas unrelated to PVP. That’s far from ideal.

Disconnect the sibling

PVE and PVP are different game modes, so let’s treat them that way. There’s literally no reason why little Lisa at item level 2,400 shouldn’t be able to play competitive PVP. The game mode needs players, we can’t start thinking PVP at 4k. I’m not saying she should instantly rock the arena, but as it is right now she would need to invest months and years to even get started. I think players that are interested in PVP early in their Neverwinter career, and try out Domination, are just getting scared off. Either by the imbalance or by the ridiculous high requirements. Overall gear is a much too important factor.

There are several ways to change that, but everything requires a complete overhaul of the current system. PVP shouldn’t overlap with or succeed PVE any longer, at least much less than it’s the case right now. It should mostly work next to it.

PVP Enchantments

To achieve this, PVP needs its own set of Enchantments, attainable in and only usable for PVP. A large chunk of progression is refining und you need those higher ranks to be competitive. Especially Weapon and Armor Enchantments can make a decisive difference in a fight on Pure and Transcendent level. So let’s talk Battle Enchantments, that are Rank 7 / Lesser in PVE, but boost to Rank 12 / Transcendent in PVP. Those could be available for currency or in a redesigned PVP campaign as repeatable task.

In the same way I would introduce PVP Artifact Weapon sets that are easier to get and upgrade, but lose most stats in PVE.


There was a thread about standardization on the Arcgames message board and I like this one as well. The basic idea is to give all characters the same amount of stat points and base damage in PVP, independent of their gear. Even if you hand out limited buffs based on item level as proposed in the thread, any level 70 toon would at least be viable to play PVP. The focus would completely shift from gear to skill, which actually would be great.

Tenacity as environmental stat

This alone won’t make it, but I like the idea of giving everyone a fixed amount of Tenacity to work with and scratch the stat from armors. That way PVE players have an easier path to PVP and won’t need to put extra grind in to get the mandatory stat. It however helps little in other areas.

No matter how you do it, PVP needs lower barriers to compete and that’s the #1 issue right now. Unless the system gets fundamentally changed, no new queues or maps or balance will help getting more players into the game mode. Do you agree or have another opinion on how PVP should be fixed? Share your thoughts in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!

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j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter inspired by the DPS builds of Envy and Rokuthy, he has built up ALTs of all classes and finished Module 5 with five characters in full legendaries and BiS/near-BiS level.

5 thoughts on “Why PVP Needs an Easier Path to Competitiveness

  • March 14, 2017 at 8:47 am

    I agree with the premise. My first approach would be two-fold:

    (1) remove tenacity from gear and give everyone same amount. Adjust amount to achieve desired tanky/spanky mix.
    (2) bring back the old stat curves for pvp only. And add a stat curve for power and hp, where hardcap on power is 30% and hardcap on hp is 140k. Me or ayroux will likely make a post about this soon.

  • March 14, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    I don’t play pvp but u think its not too difficult to figure out a system that would work. At pwe they have just released a free game that’s purely pvp,sorry forgot the name, so why don’t they just ask their colleagues on how they could improve their pvp for neverwinter?!

  • March 14, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    I’ve been playing this for years now, and have always been a PVP fan, and Im a free to play kind of player, at the moment I have 3 transcendent enchants and 1 perfect… Was it easy? Nope… This grind was necessary to get to a level where competitive PVP is actually a thing. About the enchants, Id say make new ones, obtainable through pvp campaign and Refined with glory… The more you fight, the better you get, this would make people start early on their careers, instead of low lvl pvp being full of bots. Also, the event was perfect, everyone loved it, what did they do? Never spoke of it again… The things they’re doing right, are bad for business… So they wont keep them up for long. New 1v1 area got me excited for pvp again. But for now… Pve it is… At least now its rewarding…

  • March 15, 2017 at 10:21 am

    This is is the most peculiar solution for PVP. Going into PVP it always give you the sense of being under geared and getting obliterated. Is there a Item level bracket in place i.e every 250 levels or a sub category within that bracket that takes the total of the whole team e.g. 5 team at 2000-2250 IL and match makes towards another team at the total level.
    Looking at PVP there is no real incentive to try it as the rewards seem pitiful compared to doing PVE. This can be changed by including the “Dungeon Key Changes” as drops and revising the rewards that are more attainable/achievable.Most of this can be solved providing an alternative in the Glory Shop and as rewards upon completion.
    An example would be the Twisted Set. In PVE this is done by achieving a Silver/Gold rank in Master Demogorgon. In PVP an alternative could be to make the Twisted Ichor purchasable with Glory. The Glory Shop is in dire need of updating for progression outside of PVE. Rank 7/8’s, weapon enchantments, armour enchants, more artifacts, genie’s gifts (shorten campaign), refinement materials.
    Conclusion is PVP is separate from PVE but it is not insufficiently independent for gear progression/item level/AD rewards.

  • March 19, 2017 at 7:09 am

    Yes it is a time consuming frustrating system .
    I have a 4.2k item level in pve but if I go into domination I will get curb stomped.
    Even with over 50k power without bonding
    But to make another gear set as I must carry 3 already is ridiculous .
    My normal solo set
    My group Dps set
    My ice resistant set
    And a pvp set now also

    And I am sorry but getting all the enchants for each set to rank 12
    New companions ranked and bond stones for each .
    Then refining the gear on each set max not to mention empowering the gear itself

    Do they have any clue how much this costs? Or how long it takes ?

    It’s kinda the reason why pvp doesn’t see any new blood.
    The system itself is crazy too as I can hit a main endgame boss for 3.2 million damage shadow of demise but can’t win a pvp match .
    I played wow a long time and loved pvp we had won the 3v3 arena title twice . I believe my rating was only 3500 so I wasn’t a pvp God but decent but I could wear my tier 12 set and do fine no need to put on pvp gear though it would help but not doing it wouldn’t cripple you
    In neverwinter it’s a must which is sad as most of the endgame guilds are pve focused now .
    I feel without drastic changes pvp in neverwinter will be an oxymoron


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